Ballard calls his transition team “a combination of people with gravitas mixed in with up-and-comers.” “We wanted people who were disinterested or couldn’t have influence over the areas they were checking into,” he said. To spearhead his transition, Ballard chose Joe Loftus, former senior deputy mayor under Republican Steve Goldsmith and now a partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP.Loftus, a registered lobbyist who is a resident of the City of Carmel, represents the interest of one of the city's biggest law firms, which believes it got shut out of city business under Bart Peterson and wants to return to the glory days of former Mayor Stephen Goldsmith. Now, how's that for a "disinterested" person, Mr. Mayor-elect?
Shall I continue? He's primarily getting advice from some of the following people:
- Lisa Dietrich--full-time lobbyist for Ice Miller, a law firm which has done multi-millions of dollars of business with the City of Indianapolis on multiple fronts. She's in charge of looking at Administration--the agency which helps hand out city contracts.
- Gretchan Gutman--full-time lobbyist for Sommer & Barnard, which does business with the City of Indianpolis. She will be looking at charter schools.
- Sue Beesley--lobbyist and attorney with Bingham-McHale, a law firm which has collected millions in legal fees for work on behalf of the Capital Improvement Board of Managers. She's taking a look at the corporation counsel's office. Why not, she used to run it.
- Robert Grand--lobbyist and attorney for Barnes & Thornburg, known as the insider's insider. He's taking care of the mayor's office.
- Toby McClamroch--lobbyist and attorney with Bingham-McHale. As the firm's managing partner, he has millions in legal business on the line to protect. He'll be looking at public safety.
- Terry Baker--an executive with the Schneider Corporation, an engineering firm which has also done lots of business with the City of Indianapolis. He'll be looking at metropolitan development.
- John Okeson--an attorney with the law firm of Hall Render, which represents more hospitals than any other firm in the state. He will be in charge of looking at our own Health & Hospital Corporation.
- Pat Kiely--a registered lobbyist for the state's manufacturing industry. He'll keep tabs on the Capital Improvement Board of Managers.
- Mickey Maurer--one of the city's largest and wealthiest landowners. He also owns IBJ, Indiana Lawyer, several radio stations and owns a large stake in the National Bank of Indianapolis, as well as other businesses. He's going to keep an eye on the city waterworks.
- R.J. McConnell--attorney with Bose McKinney--another law firm which raked in millions doing work for the Peterson administration. He's taking care of public works.
- Ann Lathrop--She's with the accounting firm of Crowe-Chizek, which has also billed the city of Indianapolis millions for work over the years. She's keeping tabs on the controller's office.
- Steve Riddle--also with the accounting group, Somerset, which likes it shares of government work. One of its principles is Pat Early, former chairman of the Capital Improvement Board. He's taking a look at the Public Improvement Bond Bank.
And the list goes on. What does it mean? It means that the grassroots people who fought to take back our government lost after all. We elected Greg Ballard, and Greg Ballard immediately turned control of our city back to the same people who have been taxing, spending, borrowing and operating the city for their own selfish, self-interested ends. How dare you tell us you looked for a team to assist you who were disinterested or couldn't have influence over the management of the city. Don't insult our intelligence. The Mayor-elect doesn't even seem to care that many of these people don't even reside in the City of Indianapolis. That's right. People who don't even live and pay taxes in this city have more say over the future of your city than you do. Selling out the people who fought in the trenches to ensure your election is no way to start a new administration. Good luck, Mr. Mayor-elect. You're going to need it. This group will not allow you to keep the campaign promises you made--transparency in government being the least of them.